This is the first of two posts on recommended vaccines for dogs. In this post we talk about recommended vaccines for puppies. Our next post will be “Recommended Vaccines for Adult Dogs.”
Vaccines can help lessen the effects of future infections stimulating the body’s protective immune response to a particular bacteria or virus. A dog who has been vaccinated might experience less severe symptoms or may not get sick at all when exposed to a harmful pathogen. It is best to vaccinate your pets against highly contagious and deadly diseases.
Puppies can begin their vaccinations as early as six weeks. It’s best to take your new puppy into your vet for a complete physical as soon as you adopt her for the best chance of keeping her healthy. Here’s a list of vaccinations that Dr. Cash recommends for Oklahoma. Recommended vaccinations may vary by area and by your pet’s risk of exposure.
Sometimes it’s tough to know what these vaccines do and against what diseases you are trying to protect your sweet new puppy. This breakdown includes vaccine timing and some information on each disease.
6 Weeks | Complete Physical & Deworming
It is always important to start with a complete physical to set a baseline for your puppy. This can help your vet monitor their growth and health for years to come. Puppies can easily pick up parasites such as roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, and whipworms while investigating the outdoors, trash, poop, or other dogs. Some worms can even be passed from their mother while nursing. During their first exam a fecal sample may be taken and reviewed under a microscope to determine if any parasites are present. Deworming treatments can be administered by injection or by mouth.
6, 10, & 12 weeks | DHPPV
(Distemper/Hepatitis (Adenovirus)/Parainfluenza/ Parvovirus Vaccine)
The first dose of this vaccine is given at 6 weeks followed by two boosters for a total of 3 injections. This vaccine protects against the following four viruses.
D – Distemper
Canine distemper is a highly contagious, potentially fatal virus that affects a dog’s respiratory, gastrointestinal, ophthalmic, and nervous systems. Distemper can be spread through the air and through contact with an infected animal.
H – Canine Hepatitis
This virus can spread in a similar way to distemper and it can survive in the environment for a long time. Canine Hepatitis mainly affects the liver but can also affect the kidneys and eyes.
P – Parainfluenza
Part of the Kennel Cough Complex, the parainfluenza virus is highly contagious and causes an acute, potentially damaging, respiratory infection.
P – Parvovirus
Present in almost every environment and capable of surviving outside through the winter, parvovirus most commonly affects puppies and unvaccinated dogs whose immune systems are unable to fight it off in the early stages. Parvovirus typically affects the bone marrow and intestinal systems most severely because it seeks out rapidly dividing cells.
6 – 12 Weeks | Bordatella Vaccine
Depending on the product used, the BORD vaccine can be administered at between 6 and 12 weeks. It is given as an intranasal vaccine instead of an injection. At booster is generally recommended at 6 months. Bordatella is a type of bacteria that affects the respiratory system and causes symptoms similar to a cold. It makes up the second part of the “Kennel Cough Complex.”
6 – 12 Weeks | Begin Heartworm Prevention
Relatively easy to prevent but difficult to treat, heartworm is a parasitic roundworm that is spread between hosts through mosquito bites. Once the larvae deposited in the dog mature into adult heartworms they lodge in the animal’s heart and lungs where they can do permanent damage. Prevention is as simple as giving your dog a pill once a month.
10 & 12 Weeks | Leptospirosis Vaccine
This vaccine is administered in at least two doses and protects against the most common strains of the bacteria. The first dose is given at 10 weeks and the next dose two weeks later at 12 weeks. Leptospirosis is caused by bacteria that can be spread through soil, water, and the urine of infected animals. Common carriers other than dogs include raccoons, possums, rodents, and skunks. Leptospira spread through the bloodstream causing fever and joint pain and then settle and reproduce in the kidneys. Ultimately, kidney failure and or/liver failure can result.
12 – 16 Weeks | Rabies Vaccine
The rabies vaccine is administered between 12 and 16 weeks with a booster in one year. Rabies is almost always transmitted as the result of an infected animal biting a non-infected animal. Animals most likely to transmit the disease include skunks, raccoons, foxes, coyotes, and bats. The virus has a relatively long incubation period between two weeks and several months depending on the animal. Rabies travels slowly towards the brain. There is an extremely low chance of survival after contracting the disease but vaccination has proven to be highly effective in preventing rabies infections.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns about vaccinating your pet you should speak to your veterinarian. To learn what vaccinations are recommended when your puppy gets older check out our post “Recommended Vaccines for Adult Dogs.”